“What did I tell you would happen if you continued to harass Zacheriah?” Waylon asked in an overly friendly manner.
“Um” Dexter swallowed looking from one unfriendly face to another.
“Let me remind you,” Walyon said stepping forward to the discomfort and terror of the boy in front of him. “I said you’d have to deal with me. I guess you thought I was joking.”
Shaking morosely Dexter mumbled “I’m sorry. It won’t happen again. I just…”
“You just what?” Donovan asked poking the boy hard in the chest with his index finger.
Shaking like a leaf caught in a whirl wind Dexter groaned staring at the red-head mouth working but no sound coming out. Swallowing he tried again “I I I just wanted to tttalk.”
“Get a clue,” Donovan said with a sneer “he doesn’t want to talk to you.”
“We used to be good friends,” Dexter mumbled.
“Used to be is the operative phrase” Waylon said “you’re not friends anymore. From what you did I doubt you ever were otherwise you’d never have done what you did.”
“People make mistakes,” Dexter whined.
“Yeah” Donovan said almost on a sigh “sometimes those mistakes haunt us forever.”
Dexter looked at Donovan with pain filled eyes before looking away “I thought I could change his mind,” he mumbled.
“The best thing you can do is leave him alone,” Donovan said “otherwise you’re just making things worse for both of you.”
Nodding Dexter flinched turning away from Waylon’s furious face “you’re right I’m sorry.” He took a couple of unsteady steps “I hoped” he sighed coming to a stop “never mind.” He turned towards Waylon and Donovan who were still standing there watching him “I’m glad Zach has such good friends looking out for him. He deserves the best.” With that he walked away.
“Well that was easy,” Donovan said watching the boy walk away head down, feet shuffling.
“That’s what I was thinking,” Waylon shrugged “it was easy the first time too.”
“You think he’ll try something else?” Donovan asked turning his attention to Waylon.
“I think he might,” Waylon sighed “Zach’s even more jumpy now than he was before.”
“From what I’ve been told he used to be real outgoing” Donovan said “then his world fell apart.” He gave Waylon a thoughtful look “what do you want me to do?”
Waylon shook his head walking away. Could he trust this guy? Donovan seemed nice enough but what was in it for him? “Are you interested in Zach or something?” he asked giving the redhead a steely eyed glare.
“What?” Donovan almost choked “no.” He stared at Waylon a moment thinking the guy had gone crazy or something. “You’re serious aren’t you?” Waylon nodded “well ya guessed my secret” Donovan smiled unable to keep from teasing the other man as a cloud of doom descended upon Waylon’s face. “I do like blondes …. just not that blonde.”
Waylon frowned absorbing his words “which blonde?”
“Hannah” Donovan grinned “you know the chick who won’t even look at me without scowling.”
Chuckling a little Waylon shook his head at him “so you think helping Zach will gain you points with her?”
“Well it couldn’t hurt,” Donovan shrugged “it’s worth a shot if it works.”
“You’ll have to let me know how that goes for you,” Waylon told him relieved.
Chuckling a little Donovan slapped a hand across Waylon’s back “if it doesn’t work with her I know it’ll work on another good looking blonde…”
“Don’t even go there,” Waylon growled.
Vincent stomped into the room he shared with Ryan tossed Trinity’s notebook at him earning himself a scowl in the process.
“Hey watch it,” Ryan said rubbing his forehead where the wire binder had gauged him. He pressed his I phone closer to him “no Dad I’m talking to Vincent.”
“Sorry” Vincent mouthed flopping on his bed. He hadn’t realized Ryan was on the phone when he threw the notebook at him.
“What do you think?” Ryan asked ignoring his roommate. Closing his eyes Ryan listened to his Dad’s voice “so they’re legit? That woman really is Charity’s mom.”
Vincent sat up staring across at Ryan concern plain to read on his face. “What’s going on?” he asked all thoughts of Trinity fleeing from his mind.
Putting a hand over his phone Ryan said “I’ll tell you later.”
Vincent listened to the one-sided conversation between Ryan and his Dad. His dismay growing as the call went on.
“Dad you can’t do that,” Ryan protested “Charity doesn’t want them to know.” He rolled his eyes “but Dad..” sighing he rubbed his fingers along his forehead “no I understand. It’s just she wants to be the one to tell them.”
Once his friend was off the phone Vincent turned an expectant face to Ryan waiting for an explanation. Sighing Ryan flopped back on his bed “some woman showed up at the dorm this morning claiming to be Charity’s mom. I refused to let her see Charity so she tossed this envelope of documents at me.” He tossed the papers towards Vincent.
Picking them up gingerly with his finger tips Vincent said “they look legit to me.”
“Cuz they are. Dad seems to think so at least,” he sat down a forlorn look on his face.
“She could just want to meet her daughter,” Vincent said trying to put a good spin on the situation.
Shaking his head “I didn’t get that vibe from her this morning. She wants something.”
“You’re probably right,” Vincent sighed “what are you going to do about it?”
“I don’t know yet” Ryan said heading towards the door “first I have to tell Charity what I found out.”
Hannah sat on the floor looking up at Charity lying on her bed morosely “what do you think she’s like?” she asked.
Shrugging Charity looked away “I never thought about her before. She didn’t even want me. She gave me up. Why would I want to think about someone like that?”
“There’s tons of reason why she couldn’t keep you and most of them doesn’t include her not wanting you” Hannah pointed out “you had to have wondered about her. Now’s your chance to find out some answers.”
Slowly Charity nodded. Her Mother was here now. Reaching out to her. She could have all her questions answered. “What about my Dads?” she sniffed “Don’t I owe them something? They raised me. Loved me like I was their own.”
“They’ll understand,” Hannah encouraged “they know you have questions about your biologicals. Who wouldn’t in your situation?”
Picking at her comforter Charity nodded “I never had these questions before. Why now?” She drew her knees to her chest “I feel like I’m betraying my Dads by wanting to see this woman.” Her eyes filled with tears. The last thing she wanted to do was hurt her Dads. They had done so much for her. Sacrificed so much to give her the things she needed.
A soft knock on their door prevented Hannah from saying anything else. Despite what her personal feelings were she’d support Charity in whatever decision she made. She just didn’t want Charity waking up a few years from now wishing she had taken advantage of the opportunity she now had. Opening the door she demanded “what did you find out?”
Looking over her shoulder Ryan asked “can I come in?”
Hannah opened the door wide enough to allow him inside. “I take it the woman wasn’t lying” she said following him inside closing the door.
Keeping his eyes locked on Charity’s face he nodded “I’m afraid so. Dad says the documents are legit.” He sat on the bed beside her “the question now is what Charity wants to do.”
“What I want,” Charity’s voice rose in alarm “I don’t know what I want.” She turned pleading eyes to Ryan for help “please…” she bit her lip “tell me what I should do.”
Taking her hand he pulled her close “I don’t think you can avoid meeting her now that she’s found you.”
Nodding against his shoulder she gulped back tears “I know. It’s just so sudden Why now? Why not before?”
“Sweetie I wish I knew,” he wanted to pull her close. Kiss her cheeks. Stroke her hair. Do all the things that a lover would do to comfort her. He did none of those things feeling all the restrictions of what it meant to be only a friend “you don’t have to meet her alone. I’ll come with you.”
Pulling away from him she sniffed “will you? You won’t mind?”
“Of course not,” Ryan told her. He avoided looking in Hannah’s direction but he could feel her smirk upon him regardless.
Leaving Charity in Ryan’s capable hands Hannah decided to catch her last class of the day. She ran past a group of people loitering by the door. She waved in greeting to someone calling her name as she ran past. Her mind distracted on other things otherwise she wouldn’t have acknowledged the person calling her name.
“Must be my lucky day,” Donovan’s voice said beside her “It’s been weeks since I’ve seen that beautiful smile.”
“If I had known it was you, you still would be wondering what it looked like,” she replied picking up speed.
“That’s harsh,” he muttered undaunted.
“Don’t you have class or something?” she asked slowing her pace to catch her breath.
“Been there. Done that,” he shrugged an indescribable gleam in his eyes.
Stopping she glared at him “why are you following me?”
“So we can have this delightful conversation,” he chuckled as her eyes sizzled “can’t we at least be friends?”
“No,” she shook her head clutching her books to her chest as she continued on her way to class.
“Aw come on now,” Donovan cried jogging up to her “Teasha didn’t stay mad at me for this long. She forgave me. Why can’t you?”
“Because she doesn’t like you,” she said incautiously trying to shove him out of her way to open the door to her class.
He leaned on the door preventing her from going around him “so that means you like me.”
She looked up at him in surprise. A wordless scream escaped her lips “I didn’t say that.”
“I think you did,” he smiled leaning forward smirking at her. Whatever he was about to say was interrupted by someone clearing their throat behind them. “Sorry Mr Amherst” Donovan mumbled moving aside to let him pass.
Hannah took the opportunity to escape his presence and slipped past him into the classroom. Cheeks burning she took her seat towards the front. She ignored Donovan as he called her name to come talk to him. The students giggled when she looked up to find him taking a seat next to her “leave me alone,” she said silently hoping the teacher would make him leave.
“Not until you say you forgive me,” he smirked crossing his legs making himself comfortable
She stared coldly at him before turning her attention to the teacher.
Teasha smiled at Divia as she walked into her room. Setting her book bag on her desk she stood in front of the window staring outside. It had been weeks since Divia had attempted to tell her how she felt about her. Teasha knew she should have handled things better. Been more caring and understanding for the timid girls feelings. “Divia” she said turning from the window “we need to talk.”
Divia looked up her hair falling to the side. Automatically she tugged at her dress as if trying to elongate the skirt by doing so. “About what?” she mumbled her eyes downcast.
Sighing Teasha sat on Divia’s bed “about us” she said gently.
Shaking her head Divia protested “there’s nothing to discuss.”
“I think there is,” Teasha told her “I was horrible to you and I’m sorry. I should have considered your feelings and I didn’t.”
Divia looked up a faint smile upon her lips “you can’t help who you like.”
“I know,” Teasha got up pacing restlessly only to return to Divia. Sitting on the edge she took her friends hand “I wasn’t very nice. I’m sorry. I should have been honored that you thought enough about me that you took the step to tell me. That took lots of guts.”
“You really think so?” Divia asked in wide-eyed wonder “I thought you’d hate me forever.”
“Never” Teasha laughed “I thought you’d hate me for being a terrible friend.” She stopped talking looking at the blue haired girl she grew up with “we are still friends aren’t we?”
Nodding vehemently Divia laughed “of course we are. Maybe we could even double date when Phoenix is back in town.”
Squealing Teasha threw her arms around the girl “I’d like that” pulling away she eyed her friend up and down as if seeing her for the first time “did you meet someone?”
Biting her lip Divia nodded “she’s an artist.” Her cheeks colored remembering some of the pictures of herself that she had seen in Marzia’s apartment.
“A fashion designer too?” Teasha asked.
Tugging on her skirt again Divia shook her head “Marzia said I looked good in this” her voice held all the doubts her eyes were displaying.
Tapping a finger to her lips Teasha mused a moment, eyes never leaving her friend. A sudden bright smile spread across her face “she was right. You look stunning in that dress.”
“You don’t think it’s too short or revealing?” Divia asked her voice and eyes displaying her doubts.
“It’s perfect” Teasha hugged her again “I’m so happy for you.” Another moment of silence passed between them “so when do I get to meet Marzia?”
“Whenever you’d like. I can’t wait for you to meet her. Marzia is the most perfect, gorgeous person I’ve ever met,” Divia gushed.
Listening to her friend pour out accolades about this other girl almost made her feel jealous. This could have been her she thought. Divia could have been gushing about her instead of some other girl. Shaking her head Teasha knew it was for the best. She had Phoenix and that’s the way it should be.
Finished with his work detail for the day Phoenix took a leisurely walk letting his mind wander to the girl he met several months before at a party. A party he hadn’t planned on going to after receiving a last minute reassignment. He had planned on going as Major Nelson as the second half of a I Dream of Jeannie couple. He hated the idea but Trinity had liked it. She thought it was a cute couples costume idea. Some couple they had turned out to be. No sooner had he given her the bad news that he couldn’t go she had gone looking for someone else to go with. It really shouldn’t have been much of a surprise. She had told him that she wasn’t the committed relationship type.
Phoenix was a big believer in things happening for a reason. If he hadn’t gotten unexpected furlough he wouldn’t have been able to go to the party. He wouldn’t have broken up with Trinity and wouldn’t have met Teasha. The thought of Teasha brought a smile to his face. He brought his phone out scrolling through his pictures for one of her face. She was the girl he thought Trinity was and wasn’t.
A frown marred his even features as he pondered his situation. Was he being fair to her to ask her to wait for him? Was it fair knowing that each time he got deployed might be his last? Did he want that for her? Thoughts of his parents fluttered through his mind. How his mom’s eyes would get so large and bright when his dad came home. The way she cried for days when they got the news he wasn’t coming home at all. The funeral. The months and years of heartache. His brother’s disdain for everything his father stood for. Did he really have the right to ask someone to sign up for that? Never knowing if or when he’d be coming home.
It was a sobering thought. One he had never really considered before. He always knew he wanted the house, the wife, the family but at what cost to them? He knew he also believed in what he was doing. Were the two incompatible?